I think I'm getting a little better at the Vigil.
That may sound funny, but--a priest only gets one go at this each year, and it's a pretty complicated liturgy; a lot of moving parts.
Spent the day running around, over to St. Boniface, to make sure all was set for tomorrow (no Vigil Mass there); almost forgot to put out the new Easter Candle--gee, wouldn't that have been embarrassing? Got antsy about the Vigil before 8--didn't need to be there early, but I went early, and piddled around. Everything came together pretty well, forgot a few things, nothing essential; I'm pretty sure I did the sprinkling rite out of order. Hint: the Ritual for Christian Initiation is laid out in an unreliable fashion--it tricks you into thinking you are on the right page. And I forgot the final blessing and skipped to "The Mass is ended..."
We did all the readings, the vicar was especially moving as he sang the Exsultet, and the Gloria was...glorious. We sang the Litany of the Saints as we led the catechumens to the font, then I sung the blessing of the water. We used the Roman Canon, and everything was complete in 2-1/2 hours. After Mass, we passed out Easter candy to the kids, and gave the new members of the Church Easter baskets, which I blessed. Then, I took a Host to St. Clare Chapel, to resume perpetual exposition (no exposition during the Triduum). The retired priest, who has the early Mass, will take care of the holy water at that time. (These are some of the awkward things about having one Triduum liturgy between two parishes.)
My homily? Well, I wish I had written it, but I never got around to it. I'll try to recall some details...
I began by talking about the scope of time represented by the readings: 4,000 years back to Abraham, untold millions of years back to the Creation. Although one could discern more than one progression in the readings, what I saw was God progressively getting closer to us--until we have God becoming one of us.
I talked about the Plan of Salvation, and how it makes clear the great concern God has for humanity. And we might be tempted to say, oh, isn't that convenient--someone came up with a religion that exalts man! But most religions don't do that; most religions see God as distant, and humanity as unable to attain heaven. The best we can do is appease God. (I had thought about saying something more on this, but I didn't.)
Well, I cannot recall just what I said next, but I touched on the added wonder that not only does God come to us, and enter our plane, but he then draws us up into his plane. Oh I remember--I talked about how the Story doesn't end with the readings; the next part of the liturgy is how God inserts us into the Story! That's what happens next, with baptism and confirmation. God became one of us; and God lifts us up into God--that is the meaning of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist.
I talked about the new heart and new spirit mentioned in Ezekiel--and pointed out that we Christians the heart of the world--we are the ones bringing the Spirit into the world--until Christ is all in all. I said something like--if only our church could be 100 times brighter--that a geat beam of light would shoot up into space, and people would say, something is going on in Piqua--in Columbus--in Troy--in Cincinnati, Washington, Rome, and everywhere else! Until the whole world were engulfed in the light of Christ! That day will come. The story does have an end, when Christ is all in all; in the meantime, we are sent to bring that Light, to bring Christ to the world. That's also the meaning of baptism and confirmation, and I told the catechumens and candidates they were accepting a great responsibility. I ended with something like, "till the whole world knows Jesus Christ."
Well, I'm winding down with a beer; I have the 10:30 am Mass tomorrow. Thank God for the two holy priests who assist me!